Now that Shadar-Kai are officially elves in 5e D&D, is there an official source or even semi-official (WOTC tweets, Designer blogs / podcasts / videos, Unearthed Arcana, etc.) that links these pale neutral-ish elves with the pale, neutral-ish Shadow Elves from the known world aka Mystara.

I have so far not been able to find even semi-official confirmation, especially since Mystara is seldom officially mentioned in a 5e context. But it really seems like they have many points of overlap.

Personally, I intend to make them one and the same.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ What exactly is your intention on asking for Tweets/podcasts/etc? We have had some problems with this kind of question, specially for rule intent. The main reasons we had problems there seem to cause problems here as well - first, it doesn't seem to solve any particular problem (reason I'm asking the intention of asking for them), and second if there's none we can't actually prove it, and "We can't seem to leave unanswerable questions unanswered" \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 5:29

3 Answers 3


No official release for Shadow Elves

The only elf subraces/kin to be officially mentioned are:

  • High Elves
    • High Elves of Greyhawk (PHB)
    • Silvanesti of Dragonlance (PHB)
    • Sun Elves of the Forgotten Realms (PHB and SCAG)
    • Gray Elves of Greyhawk (PHB)
    • Qualinesti of Dragonlance (PHB)
    • Moon Elves of the Forgotten Realms (PHB and SCAG)
  • Wood Elves
    • Wild Elves (Grugach) of Greyhawk (PHB)
    • Kagonesti of Dragonlance (PHB)
    • Wood Elves of Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms (PHB and SCAG)
  • Eladrin, Variant (DMG)
  • Dark Elves (Drow) (PHB, SCAG, and MM)
  • Eladrin (MToF)
  • Sea Elves (MToF)
  • Shadar-kai (MToF)
  • Aereni (WGtE)
  • Valenar (WGtE)
  • House of Shadow (WGtE)

...but it is perfectly reasonable to re-skin the Shadar-kai for your purposes

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can we add the Dusk Elves of Ravenloft? Do you mean to limit this to 5e? Valley elves? Snow elves? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 1:04

Shadar-Kai and Shadow Elves are not the same.

Shadar-Kai are beings that hail from the Shadowfell, part of the Inner Planes, and Shadow Elves are located beneath the first layer of Ysgard, called Alfheim, which is located in the Outer Planes, and part of the upper planes of chaos.

As far as official 5e content, Shadar-Kai are part of Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, and was previously part of Unearthed Arcana.

The closest thing that has been released thus far for the Shadow Elf is the Mark of Shadow Elf, which was in Unearthed Arcana: Dragonmarks from 2018; it was content released for playtesting from the Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron (a living document that will eventually be updated with changes following playtesting).

Mark of Shadow is only available for Elves and replaces the subrace. It's available as a race option on D&D Beyond, under "Elf".

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Can you expand your answer to clarify how it answers the question about the connection between Shadar-Kai and the Shadow Elves of Mystara? \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 20:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ The Shadow Elves from Mystara are not the same as the Shadow Elves from Ysgard despite them both living beneath a place called Alfheim. \$\endgroup\$
    – StarHawk
    Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 19:19

Shadow elves are pretty much identical to regular standard elves, except that they have greater infravision range and don't get benefits for fighting with swords and bows.

In 5th edition terms, this would probably be be emulated by taking the high elf, increasing darkvision distance to 120 ft., and dropping weapon training.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What is the source for your opening sentence? BECMI era D&D? My recollectoin of that sub race was that it was a different version of Drow for non AD&D game: B/X or BECMI D&D that was based in Mystara. (But memory is a big foggy at the moment). The gazetteer describes the region deep beneath the Broken Lands, where the underground shadow elves live \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 12:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Furthermore, suggesting homebrew options (as you've done here) should be supported by gameplay experience or an explanation as to why the variant you've suggested would fit in well with official options. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 14:26

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